FREMONT, CA: Health and Human Services Department has heard from stakeholders over the past year that there are still barriers to interoperable access to health information, along with barriers to technical, financial, trust, and business practice. Such barriers hinder the flow of health information across care continuum to where it is needed. Furthermore, the onus of quality reporting, documentation, administrative and billing criteria that prescribe how health IT programs are designed also hinder health IT’s innovative usability.
According to a Stoltenberg Consulting research study of more than 300 health IT professionals attending the 2019 HIMSS conference, lack of healthcare interoperability is the largest operational burden for healthcare organizations in 2019. HHS has made numerous efforts to partake stakeholders in the clinical community and health IT to fully understand such barriers, challenges, and burden on health care providers. To address these issues, HHS is taking action. Healthcare organizations should realistically strategize the application of value-based care initiatives. Organizations should organize a cross-disciplinary team to asset their current climate, define capabilities for supporting internal IT staff, identify the desired end-state, and evolve a roadmap to monitor their value-based care objectives. Healthcare officials should think outside the value-based care reporting check-the-box mentality.
Organizations need to use interoperability as the basis for progress in transformation. Absence of interoperability will proceed to hinder advances in patient experience as well as the potential to use data more efficiently to guide decision-making and introduce automation initiatives depending on artificial intelligence and robotics. Organizations that push greater IT systems and data integration and analysis throughout provider facilities—and widen that assimilation even to patients at home will figure themselves better placed to face these issues head-on.
Other operational burdens for healthcare organizations typically involve rising operational costs and personnel costs, financial reimbursements, and burnout or investigating burden on electronic health records (EHR). Organizations should prioritize their objectives and map them to existing and estimated skill gaps in order to strengthen training programs for health IT staff. Organizations need to use these ideas to invest in programs that maintain staff up-to-date and engaged in innovation training. Healthcare organizations can facilitate the staffing of pain points with a targeted outsourcing strategy to enhance efficiency and retain support levels, be it strategic support for integrating new systems, daily operational assistance or revamping the traditional help desk.
Enhanced interoperability can enhance market competition, lead to higher quality, safety, and health system value, and empower patients, health care providers, and payers to experience health IT benefits.